La leyenda de la piedra
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La leyenda de la piedra (The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox #2)

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  1,219 ratings  ·  102 reviews
El maestro Li, el mejor detective de toda China, y su ex cliente y actual ayudante Buey Número Diez se enfrentan a un nuevo caso. Buey es un campesino de corazón puro, y Li un viejo erudito... con un ligero defecto en su carácter.

En el monasterio del Valle de las Penas, el bibliotecario ha aparecido asesinado mientras trabajaba en un antiguo pergamino que además ha sido ro...more
Paperback, 245 pages
Published 2008 by Alamut (first published 1988)
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I hate to do this, I really do. I loved Bridge of Birds A Novel of an Ancient China That Never Was but I just can't get into this one. I'm reading an ebook and am 72% done and just don't care what happens. I've been trying to finish this book for a month now and just can't force myself to sit down and read.

I've learned that I need character growth and development instead of just a story. I was hoping to learn more about Number 10 Ox & Master Li in this book but while they are the main chara...more
Melissa Proffitt
Darker in tone and content than Bridge of Birds, The Story of the Stone links two mysteries, both about evil, where it comes from and how it can be overcome. The title and the legend of the stone the book is centered on come from the classic 18th century novel Dream of the Red Chamber, continuing Hughart's tradition of drawing on actual Chinese history and mythology. However, the actual plot is all Hughart's invention, which means it has insane zombie princes, secret identities, a trip to Hell,...more
Kelly Flanagan
what a great book. If you are looking for something with a smidgin of humor; a taste of the supernatural and a boatload of mystery, read Barry Hughart's books. Although I was unable to get my hands on a copy of the first book - Bridge of Birds: A Novel of an Ancient China That Never Was - but if it is anything like the second I'd recommend it right away.
Susan Ferguson
I really like these books and wish there were more than 3. They contain the charming tone of an old Chinese fairytale, but with a biting sense of humor and their own wisdom. This one concerns a stone that was part of the wall beween heaven and the world and it is flawed. This flawed stone has come to earth as a temptation to ambitious people. There is, of course, the complicated and mythically allegorical back story which old Master Li (surname Li, personal name Kao, with a flaw in my character)...more
The Story of the Stone is a far more complex novel than Bridge of Birds and is all the better for it. I read this a couple of times as a teen, but always preferred Bridge of Birds. On rereading for the first time in probably 20 years or so, the complexity of the story is what makes this a winner. The characters of Master Li and Number Ten Ox are far more complex, and their travelling companions are also well drawn.

For me, the best bit of the story is the journey through hell (facilitated by magi...more
Carl Nelson
Barry Hughart's great trick is to make me think I'm reading a convoluted story based on an intricate plot and lovably irredeemable characters, and in the last few pages I realize I'm reading a poignant, beautiful myth that relates both the best and worst of human nature. Hughart relies on good-natured humor to great effect; "The Story of the Stone" has many humorous elements but is never slapstick. Master Li and Number Ten Ox continue to delight, with witty banter and a good deal of heart.

In this book Barry Hughart continues the exploration of Chinese history and myth that he started in Bridge of Birds. Unlike that first book, the Story of the Stone is more concerned with the myths and the philosophy, and is less humorous and good natured.

It is still a pleasant read, even if it tries to be a bit didactic at times, and the two recurring characters are as lovable as ever, if a bit more bloodthirsty.

Recommended for those who like their myths with a different taste.
Me pasa con Barry Hughart y su serie del Maestro Li y Buey N��mero Diez un poco lo que me ocurri�� Jonathan Carroll, otro novelista con quien Hughart guarda m��s de uno y dos puntos en com��n. Descubr�� a ambos con una novela divertid��sima, de las que hacen afici��n ("Bridge of Birds" en el primer caso, "El pa��s de las risas" en el segundo) y luego he ido yendo de decepci��n en decepci��n, buscando las emociones que encontr�� en aquellas irrepetibles primeras novelas.

En el caso que nos ocupa,...more
Maron Anrow
I started this book on a flight at the beginning of a vacation, and then I barely touched it for two weeks (due to that vacation). I had a hard time focusing on the thread of the plot at times, and I'm not sure if that's because of the writing or if I was simply easily distracted whenever reading.

There were definitely some laugh out loud moments in the book, and I loved the setting and characters. This was a "fun romp" like Bridge of Birds, but not to the same degree. (BoB was a little more fren...more
'La leyenda de la piedra' es el segundo libro (de lectura totalmente independiente) de las Crónicas del Maestro Li. En el primer libro, 'Puente de pájaros', se nos daba a conocer a tan singular personaje, un viejo erudito con un ligero defecto de carácter, dedicado a esclarecer enigmas imposibles, y a su cliente Buey Número Diez, un campesino que ahora pasa a ser su ayudante. Esta nueva historia, como la primera, está narrada por Buey, que ejerce de cronista de las aventuras del maestro Li, part...more
A friend loaned me this book as she knows how much I like China and said it was a mystery using the characters from Hong lou meng (A dream of red mansions/The story of the stone). Unfortunately there were SOOO many HUGE historical inacuracies I wasn't able to get more than 36 pages into it before I had to give up! First, there was a problem with the year on page 3. He said it was "The year of the serpent 3,339 (650) AD". Chinese dates have never been given in thousands of years, but would be giv...more
Andrew Lasher
Hughart has another great read in The Story of the Stone. While it isn't quite as good as the first book in the series (Bridge of Birds) it is still very worthwhile.

These books somehow manage to be both incredibly violent and incredibly sweet at the same time. I'm not sure how the author manages it, but there were several times where beheadings were occurring and I was thinking about how nice it all seemed. Doesn't make sense? Try the book and you will see.

The only reason that I didn't rate thi...more
Imagine Robert van Gulik's Judge Dee novels with a touch of the supernatural and a less economical presentation. The Story of the Stone by Barry Hughart has that type of feel. Obviously a sequel to The Bridge of Birds which included these same characters--the inscrutable Master Li and his man-mountain servant, Number 10 Ox. Dungeons & Dragons: Oriental Adventures players would be tempted to develop the latter from the Rogue class. To be as big as Ox is, you'd expect a rather dull and unintel...more
The first time I read through Barry Hughart's trilogy, I remember loving Bridge of Birds, but being disappointed in the other two. I suppose I'll speak to Eight Skilled Gentlemen later, but after reading this book, I understand my disappointment, but at the same time enjoyed this title far more than I recall doing so.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of Bridge of Birds was the amusing coincidences. Master Li and Number Ten Ox would escape the clutches of some villain or another, only to bump int...more
I like to think of myself as "pragmatic," and those friends of mine who have known me longest tend to agree. When I say I'm pragmatic, I tend to mean that I like to see the silver lining in every cloud, but I'm not blind to the fact that there is still a cloud, and so I prepare for rain. I prefer walking this middle line between out-and-out optimism and out-and-out negativity, because I know the benefits of seeing both sides of the same coin. In the general living of my life, I walk that middle...more
I thought this book was every bit as good as the first one, which is saying a whole lot of wonderful things.

The characters, the setting, the little asides (I love little asides, especially when they turn out to be important), and the surprises that I should've seen coming -- that make sooo much sense once they've been explained -- all together make this such a great book. I still can't pick any other book or author and say "It's a lot like this," because it's not a lot like anything else.

"I've n...more
Not quite as good as Bridge of Birds, but still worth reading. It didn't have quite the same amount of charm, but I am happy to once again see Master Li and Number Ten Ox having adventures. Once again, it's a mystery that turns into a mythological quest, and then abruptly jumps back to being a mystery at the end.

I actually enjoyed the supporting characters here very much, possibly more than the ones in Bridge of Birds -- Grief of Dawn and Moon Boy (especially Moon Boy, okay) made excellent sidek...more
I have read multiple reviews that basically say "his book is good, but it wasn't as good as his first book." My opinion n that is that the first book has real heart, and that is a difficult shoe to fill. Every single character in Bridge of Birds has something to share of themselves and most had a story to tell. Even those who you thought were just a minor character became someone you could sympathize with (my personal favourite character was Doctor Death).

I think where this book has trouble rea...more
in Puzzle wird gelöst, Stein für Stein...

Kann ein Nachfolger zu so einem großartigen Werk wie Bridge of Birds an den Vorgänger anknüpfen? Ja, es kann.

Begeisterte "Bridge of Birds" durch eine ganz einmalige Kombination von intelligenter, komplexer Geschichte und humorvoller Karikaturisierung der chinesischen Sagen- und Literaturwelt, so wird dieses Muster auch im vorliegenden Werk weitergeführt. Die Hauptpersonen sind immer noch genauso spektakulär unseriös, die Geschichte verwirrend, der Humor a...more
Akos Hochrein
Okay, so here's the deal: In short, the book was great, and whoever you are, you should read it.

... but.

There's a reason I've only marked it as a 3 star piece. Somehow I felt, that the first part of the trilogy - "A Bridge of Birds" - is so much better than this, that I cannot give a better review to it. The supporting characters didn't catch my interest as much as in the first book, they received much more detail regarding their background, but the beautiful simplicity of the first book was los...more
Book two in this trilogy had all the same wonderful mythical fantasy, fairy tale elements, and wry commentary of the first novel, but a little less of the magic when it came to mystery. This time around, I had knowledge of Hughart's style, so it was much easier to figure out the clues and predict the reveals, and therefore it was decidedly less impressive when he tied it all together at the end. Many of the major plot points are almost exact copies of the first story, such as (view spoiler)...more
I found this volume a little more confusing than Bridge of Birds, but in the end I think I liked it a little more. Hughart maintains the same faux-fairy tale tone which I really enjoy. The way characters and coincidence weave in and out makes the story feel older than it really is. Some of the coincidences get a little hard to believe, but the tone makes this forgivable.

What I really enjoyed about the book though was the way it played with gender and sexuality. reGrief of Dawn and Moon Boy just...more
'But how can I tell The Story of the Stone?' I wailed. 'In the first place I don't understand where it begins and in the second place I'm not sure it has an ending and in the third place even if I understood the ending it wouldn't do me any good because I don't understand the beginning in the first place.'
He gazed at me in silence. Then he said, 'My boy, stay away from sentences like that. They tend to produce pimples and permanent facial tics.'
'Yes, sir,' I said.
'Begin at the beginning as you u
Joel Neff
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
James Quirk
Well, this one goes off the rails about midway through. Definitely not as good as Hughart's debut. The humor is good, but the plot keeps folding in on itself until it almost doesn't matter what's going on. This is a disappointment after the wonderful pacing and satisfying conclusion of "Bridge of Birds." I found myself not caring about the "twist" at the end, and was annoyed that a big chunk of the book is spent getting Grief of Dawn healed - only to have her suddenly die, and then be turned int...more
Although I really enjoyed Bridge of Birds, I thought that some of the magic had gone with The Story of the Stone. The motivation of the characters in Stone is shallow, and they're acting like detectives in a rather simplified story compared to the predecessor. The emotional connection of Number Ten Ox to the story is missing. There isn't the personal link that drove the characters to every crazy situation and mishap. There is less inspiration.

The secondary characters weren't so full of personali...more
As with his first book in this series, Bridge of Birds, this is an entertaining, light book with no great literary merit but entirely great fun. It tells yet another tale of Master Li ("My surname is Li and my personal name is Kao, and there is a slight flaw in my character") and his faithful assistant, Number Ten Ox, who is also our trusty narrator. They wander around ancient China (and some supernatural realms) solving the unsolvable, surviving the unsurvivable, and having a rollicking good ti...more
Another awesome and fantastic tale from the lives of Master Li and Number Ten Ox, with another pile of mocking references to Chinese philosophy and (mythical) culture. Absolutely enjoyable stuff.

The only reason that it gets four and not the full five stars is that I do feel the first book was just that bit better. While this second book still is wonderful, it doesn't quite suck you in with its magic like the first one did. For every great character in this book, there was a more memorable one to...more
I didn't like The Story of the Stone as much as I liked the first book of Barry Hughart's trilogy, Bridge of Birds. It didn't strike me as anything like so amusing, for a start. I also somehow managed to predict the villain of the story, based on the way Bridge of Birds concluded. I was a little sad, because it felt obvious and I liked the character.

The fact that the narrator himself was confused is interesting, but didn't help the story at all. It doesn't make for satisfying reading because you...more
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“I have never been able to understand why perfectly sensible people waste time being wittily obscure instead of just saying what they want and going on about their business.” 6 likes
“Ox, what occupation is most closely linked to insanity?'

'Emperor,' I said promptly.”
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